We have now read all the horrific details of the drowning of a 4 year old child in a Glenview Park District pool. According to many people who were there, there were too many people at the pool, including birthday parties and day camps, to adequately watch their children. It may be impossible to place the blame for this incident on any individual counselor or lifeguard, but as a parent you start to wonder if this could happen again.
I certainly hope this serves as a wakeup call for pool operators around the country. Public pools can be crazy places, and sometimes things can get out of control. I hope our own Deerfield Park District uses this as an opportunity to review its policies and procedures regarding pool usage over the summer. As a parent of two children in DPD summer camps this year, including a beginning swimmer, I would like to be reassured that day camp swim time schedules do not overlap with other events, such as public swims or private parties.
Is there a maximum number of children that may be allowed in the pool at any given time? Is each child supervised appropriately? Does every single camp counselor know exactly who he or she is watching at any one given time? Do the lifeguards have procedures in place if they feel the pool is becoming overcrowded?
My experience with DPD camps so far has been excellent...great programs and great people. However, the Glenview incident should be a wakeup call to all of us to not take anything for granted and when in doubt, ASK QUESTIONS. Before you hand off your child to anyone you had better be convinced that your child will get through the day safely.
Tomorrow, on the first day of summer camp, we will certainly be asking plenty of questions about pool safety. I expect the staff will be as vigilant as ever, and maybe even on a hightened sense of alert. Unfortunately that is the only positive thing that can come out of such a terrible incident. Maybe little Vincente's death will serve to protect other children from meeting his fate.